Gary Spencer Millidge's Comic Book Design offers readers a colorful and informative tour of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation and promotion of comic books. He delves into considerations both large (storyline concepts, character design) and small (word balloons, grid structure, sound effects), leaving comic junkies with a far more in-depth appreciation of their favorite medium.
While sections of Millidge's book feel more like an art-school textbook than something written for the layman, the gorgeous artwork, easy-to-understand text, and artist profiles featured in Comic Book Design are sure to interest anyone with a general interest in comic books as an art form. For example, we here at Wordcandy already spent a tremendous amount of time brooding over cover art, but—thanks to Mr. Millidge's informative chapter on covers and publication design—we will now be adding title mastheads, company logos, and spine design to our list of things to complain about. (Thanks, Gary!)
A word of warning, however: Millidge's obvious admiration for the artists featured in his book is infectious, and readers may find themselves wanting to check out more of the featured work than their finances will allow. (His discussion of the background art in Cerebus left us with a strong desire to pick up one of Dave Sim's graphic novels, even though they cost thirty dollars and we've been avoiding reading them since high school.) So do what you have to do—freeze your credit cards, harden your heart, whatever—but don't blow your budget on every graphic novel he recommends, no matter how glorious the splash pages or eye-catching the color palettes.
Review based on unsolicited submission by publisher.